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Written by Lindsay Westley   
Published on Monday, 20 January 2014 03:15

January 20, 2014 - Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and hip-hop dancer Lil Buck got audiences talking in 2011 when they performed a dance-music interpretation of Camille Saint-Saën’s “The Swan.” In LiveConnections’ February 2nd concert, cellist Gabriel Cabezas — a sometimes-collaborator with Yo-Yo Ma — will take his mentor’s lead in a pas de deux between cello and BalletX dancer Chloe Felesina.

We caught up with Gabe to hear why this Curtis Institute of Music grad was committed to pursuing performance opportunities outside of the traditional concert hall.

Charlotte Blake AlstonYou and Chloe Felesina have settled on a program that includes both choreographed works and improvisation — why the improv?
Part of what we want to do in this concert is to have a conversation across different mediums of art, relating movement and sound together.  We ended up improvising a bit as one of the ways of expressing this dialogue — it removes the creative voices of composers or choreographers and allows a very pure exchange between performers.  Different combinations of fixed material and improvisation throughout the concert also will give some perspective, hopefully!

How does playing with and for a dancer change the way you might interpret a piece? Has your vision for this program changed, as you've worked together with Chloe?
Working with a dancer can definitely influence interpretation — watching movement can influence different turns of a phrase, lines, and character.  I expected this before starting to work with Chloe, so my vision for the program didn't necessarily change; it just naturally evolved.

Can you talk a little about why it’s important to you to try new ways of expressing yourself outside of the traditional model?
As a classical musician, you don't get a lot of opportunities to mess with traditional models of concerts — one of the many reasons LiveConnections is so important!  Stretching myself as a young artist is very important to me, and each new experience is a great learning experience and informs the rest of my performances and projects in my future.

Ca you talk a little bit about working with Yo-Yo Ma and Lil Buck, the cello-dance duo who really got audiences talking about this type of collaboration with their duet to Camille Saint-Saën’s “The Swan?”
I did a few outreach presentations in Chicago (my hometown) with Yo-Yo Ma and Lil Buck at some schools, playing solo pieces and also improvising with dance.  It was very free form, authentic, and spoke simply and well to whoever was around. That’s an experience that I was very happy to get the opportunity to play around with again when Mary [Javian] spoke to me about doing a solo program with one dancer.  


[Read PART 1 of the interview with Chloe Felesina here.]

Complete concert details and tickets here.


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